On 11/3/04, Andy Lieberman <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> While I feel comfortable with the above-stated model at the local level,
> I am struggling a bit with the ethics and reality of whether a mid-sized
> local NGO should build its sustainability off end users. For example,
> some people have suggested that our NGO could create a franchise scheme
> where our partner centers could pay us a fee for which we would provide
> ongoing technical and administrative support. It is certainly solid as a
> business plan, although I wonder about our capacity to provide quality
> services at a low enough cost. Regarding ethics, I would not feel
> comfortable knowing that my salary is coming directly from the pockets
> of the rural poor we are trying to help. Yet, if we are not able to
> offer those services, the telecenters end up paying private companies
> for that assistance. So, maybe I am wrong in my thinking and that this
> scheme would really be a win-win. Our NGO is doing its best to be
> transparent, so that any "profits" obtained should truly be channeled
> back to our target population.
> I would welcome testimony from anyone or any organization that has gone
> through these types of growing pains. 

Andy, I would understand your feeling against feeding from the poor's

I think the most important issue here is the service you will offer and
how it fits into the larger community aspirations. I have worked with
setting up School-Based Telecenters (SBTs) in Uganda and Zimbabwe under
the World Bank Institute program. In Uganda alone there are over 15
SBTs. The strength of the SBT is as much in the networking and sharing
of resources. They can negotiate fair prices and services etc., as a

Therefore if you can make your services available to help organise
common interests around a need - for instance PC servicing and repairs,
training etc, that would be great. They can in turn pay some fees at a
price deemed necessary for the service. In case there is a doubt - take
it that if you don't help, someone else will, but might require higher
fees than what you might be willing to do the same job for.

I think its all a WIN-WIN situation if you help and charge less than the
market cost - if you can get a good service for that amount. I would be
happy to know how you get through on this.



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